• When Good Things Happen To Bad SEO
    Over the holiday weekend, The New York Times ran a story about an online retailer who promotes poor consumer reviews because he believes they improve his search engine ranking. The story raises questions about whether the strategy works, and whether Google's algorithm -- among other search engines -- should be corrected to deter such behavior. Search expert Danny Sullivan -- who was interviewed for the story -- isn't sure of either. "Have all those bad reviews been helping, simply because there are enough links pointing at the site regardless?" he asks. "Maybe," though, "From an ...
  • Report: Microsoft Planning Web TV Play
    Apparently, Google's Web TV difficulties haven't discouraged Microsoft from pursuing a similar service. Citing two sources, Reuters reports that the software giant has held talks with media companies to license TV networks for a new online pay-television subscription service through devices like its Xbox video game console. Microsoft's "possible push into the television business comes as Google Inc, Apple Inc and Netflix have jostled for a seat at the table of television's future," Reuters notes. "The maker of the Windows operating system has proposed a range of possibilities in these early talks including creating a 'virtual cable ...
  • Claim: Google Giving Publicis 'Kickbacks'
    Two "industry insiders" tell TechCrunch that Publicis is receiving "kickbacks" from Google for funneling a ton of ad dollars through the search giant's display ad business. Flatly denying the payments -- or at least their characterization as "kickbacks" or "rebates" -- Kurt Unkel, an SVP at Publicis' Vivaki unit, tells TechCrunch: "There isn't a rebate in play. We have a strategic partnership." Oh, and any suggestion that Publicis is accepting payments from Google in return for driving online ad spending through Google is "an utter crock of shit," Unkel adds. "That is illegal in the U.S." That ...
  • Will Twitter Tweet Its Own News?
    According to comments by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Reuters is reporting that the microblogging service is ready to create a news service of its own. Writes Reuters, Stone "is eager to harness the vast quantities of information that it helps its users share to create a news network." On the sidelines of the Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford technology event, Stone told Reuters Television: "From the very beginning this has seemed almost as if it's a news wire coming from everywhere around the world." What's more, "I think a Twitter News Service would be something that would ...
  • Steal Your Face: The Social Network's Latest Trademark Raises Eyebrows
    Soon to cement its position as the new "face" of the Web, Facebook is reportedly about to be awarded a trademark for the word "face." The U.S. Patent And Trademark Office has sent Facebook a Notice of Allowance, which means the government will award the social networking site the trademark under certain conditions. "While it seems so bizarre that a company should have the right to trademark a word as common as 'Face' apparently the USPTO isn't at all disturbed," writes TechCrunch, which first reported the news. As CNNMoney.com notes, "Patent ...
  • HarperCollins Lets Gawker Off Palin's Hook
    It looks like Nick Denton can rest easy this coming holiday weekend. HarperCollins says it's resolved its lawsuit against Gawker over a blog post containing photographed excerpts from Sarah Palin's memoir, America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag. "Over the weekend," as MediaBistro notes, "a federal judge ordered Gawker to remove the excerpts." In a statement, the book publisher said: "In settling the case, Gawker has agreed to keep the posted material off its web site and not to post the material again in the future." Neither HarperCollins nor Gawker is saying whether the settlement ...
  • Visions Of iPads Dance In Kids' Heads
    Forget about Slinkys, BMX bikes, or anything without an internal operating system. According to an October survey by Nielsen (as reported by the Los Angeles Times), preteens want an Apple iPad more than any other holiday gift. A full 31% of children 6-to-12 said they wanted an iPad, and nothing else! (At that age, we were lucky to get a Rubik's Cube!) Tied for second place -- each with 29% of the vote - were Apple's iPod Touch and a computer from an unspecified brand. The Nintendo DS portable video game console came fourth place, with 25%, ...
  • Shopping Apps Rising
    Pointing towards the future of ecommerce, The Wall Street Journal sees a surge in price-comparison and loyalty program apps. "The battle for holiday shopping dollars is shifting to the palms of consumers' hands," it reports. Phone calls aside, 59% of adult U.S. cellphone owners plan to use their handsets for holiday shopping and planning holiday celebrations, according to an October survey by the Mobile Marketing Association. Meanwhile, Google reports that the number of shopping searches it gets from cellphones has grown by 30 times in the past three years. "The latest price-comparison apps keep track of sales ...
  • White-Label Social Reward Startup Gets $2.5 Mil
    Badgeville, which helps publishers offer "social rewards" to readers, has raised $2.5 million from Felix Investments, along with senior executives from eBay, Paypal, Chegg, Shopping.com, Drugstore.com, Palantir, and Warner Music. According to VentureBeat, the white-label platform offers widgets and APIs to publishers looking to add game mechanics such as badges and rewards -- largely popularized by Foursquare -- to their sites. In September, Badgeville won the audience choice award at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, and has partnered with publishers such as Comcast Sports, TechCrunch, Philly.com, The Next Web, and Blackbook. Badgeville CEO Kris Duggan previously told VentureBeat ...
  • How Amazon Undersells The Competition
    As we approach the biggest online shopping days of the year, Slate investigates how Amazon exploits tax laws to undersell the competition. "It has to do with the regulations states use to determine which companies must collect taxes," Slate explains. "According to Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, companies are only required to collect sales taxes from their customers when they have a presence in the state in which they reside." In other words, Amazon has a "presence" in far fewer states than retailers like Apple and Best Buy, which operate brick & ...
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